designer tobia zambotti calls attention to the harmful environmental effects of single-use mask pollution with the design of ‘couch-19’, which has been symbolically shaped to resemble the irregular form of an iceberg. to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, face coverings have become a requirement in public spaces throughout the world. many face masks available for sale are made from layers of plastics, and are designed specifically to be single-use. since they are considered medical waste and cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities, masks — and their widespread litter on the streets — pose a threat to the environment.

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disinfected single-use masks collected from the streets became an unusual stuffing for a modular pouf



in his home country of italy, tobia zambotti has recognized a big problem in the pollutive effects of single-use masks. the designer conceived of ‘couch-19’ as a creative way to highlight the environmental issue, and involved the inhabitants of pergine valsugana, a small town near trento in northern italy. zambotti asked inhabitants to safely collect disposable masks littered on the streets and around medical facilities. a few cubic meters of masks were collected and thoroughly disinfected with ozone, before becoming an unusual stuffing for a recyclable, crystal PVC modular couch pouf. from an aesthetic perspective, due to the ‘icy’ coloring of most of the disposable masks, zambotti shaped the couch poufs to mimic the irregular characteristics of an iceberg — a symbol of global warming.

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the ‘icy’ colors of most of the disposable masks makes them perfect for an iceberg-inspired pouf

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the couch has been created from two small and two large poufs

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the modular pouf offers different seating possibilities

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a detail of the label

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tobia zambotti on ‘couch-19’



project info:


name: couch-19
designer: atelier tobia zambotti



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edited by: nina azzarello | designboom